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Richard Pitino's Minnesota buyout, once $7.1 million, drops to zero

Marcus Fuller, Star Tribune on

Published in Basketball

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota owes no buyout money to former Gophers men's basketball coach Richard Pitino under the terms of their separation agreement, obtained Wednesday by the Star Tribune.

The university fired Pitino on March 15, one day before he accepted a position as New Mexico's coach. Pitino's contract with the Gophers called for a $1.75 million buyout if fired before April 30, but it included a provision that stated those payments would cease once Pitino found comparable employment, including a Division I coaching job.

The separation agreement says the U doesn't have to pay any buyout for parting ways with Pitino, but he also doesn't owe the university the $500,000 termination fee in his contract for departing to another school before April 30.

The university will pay Pitino one bonus payment of $125,000 with the Gophers expected to achieve academic milestones accomplished under his leadership last season.

 

Pitino's buyout money reached as high as $7.1 million after he finished 8-23 in 2015-16.

One week after firing Pitino, the Gophers hired Ben Johnson to be the new coach with a five-year contract worth $1.95 million annually. Johnson's contract still has to be approved by the university's Board of Regents.

Pitino, who was making $2.46 million annually through 2023-24 at Minnesota, signed a six-year contract with New Mexico for nearly $5 million total. He'll make $775,000 in salary and compensation in his first year in 2021-22.

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